Mountain bike accident not bear attack

Rumours were flying around town after search and rescue, conservation officers, paramedics and the RCMP responded to a potential bear attack on Monday afternoon.

  • Jun. 10, 2011 6:00 a.m.

Rumours were flying around town after search and rescue, conservation officers, paramedics and the RCMP responded to a potential bear attack on Monday afternoon.

“The initial call was that three individuals were attacked by a bear,” said Const. Sheena Fulton of the Elk Valley RCMP.

Fulton said that what had actually happened was that a local man in his 20s had hit a low hanging tree branch while mountain biking on the Old Stumpy trail in Ridgemont, Fernie, and fell off his bike.

“We suspect that there was a group of people biking together and someone ahead heard the scream when the biker fell and suspected that there had been a bear attack,” said Fulton.

“The incident really took on a life of it’s own,” said Simon Piney of Fernie Search and Rescue.

Piney said that because of the initial call conservation officers had to be sent in to the area before ambulance attendants and members of search and rescue could go in.

“Once the conservation officers determined that there was no threat, paramedics were able to go in and attend to the man,” he said.

Piney said that the man had sped into the low hanging branch and was showing signs of a potential spinal injury.

Ambulance attendants stabilized the man and members of search and rescue packaged him so that they could take him out of the area.

The man was taken to the Elk Valley Hospital. His injuries are not yet known.

Piney said that there were two other incidents in the area yesterday, including a woman who broke her ankle while hiking.

Piney is reminding mountain bikers and hikers that if they are injured in the backcountry, the fastest way to get help is to call 911.

“When you reach dispatch, be clear that it’s in the backcountry and request search and rescue,” he said. “A lot of people waste time trying to find our number and we can only be sent out by the RCMP.